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Saturday, 21 November 2009
For Some Iranians, New Jersey Is Paradise
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From the account by Masar Baheri, the Newsweek reporter held prisoner in, and recently released by, Iran: 

"Several days later, the Revolutionary Guards came to his home and arrested him for being a "media spy," a part of the Western media’s conspiracy to foment unrest in Iran, they said. But even odder than that idea was what he came to learn about his chief captor.

"I think the words 'New Jersey' sounded to him like the most American place that you can be in your life," says Bahari of his Revolutionary Guard interrogator. "He thought of New Jersey as a kind of paradise."

It came up during an interrogation about Bahari's life in Iran with other journalists and a dinner they had at which the interrogator assumed drinking and maybe even sex was going on - desirable yet sinful activities to the Muslim Fundamentalist interrogator. "This was the kind of dinner you could have in New Jersey,'" Bahari says his captor said to him.

"To him, he had to suffer in this world in order to go to paradise in order to drink wine and have sex with at least 72 virgins," Bahari recounts. "He hated me and he was jealous of me at the same time because I had been to New Jersey," he tells Simon.

It's an amusing story in hindsight, but to a prisoner in the hands of people with such notions, it was far from funny at the time. "I thought to myself, 'Maziar, you're screwed because these guys are in charge of your life and they're stupid and ignorant," says Bahari.

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Posted on 11/21/2009 5:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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23 Nov 2009
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One Man's Mede Is Another Man's Capo
 
Camden racists, doo-dah, doo-dah, worse than Detroit's 8 Mile long.  Badda-bing, badda-boom, I paved over Paradise and put up a mob-controlled parking lot.
- Tony Soprano
 
Hat tip to today's AOL "News":
 
"No. 1: Camden, N.J.
Rankings in Crime
Assault: 6
Murder: 1
Rape: 8
Motor Vehicle Theft: 8
Robbery: 1
Burglary: 41

(A "murder" rank of "4" would mean it has the 4th worst murder rate. Rankings are out of 393 cities or up to 402 cities, depending on the statistics available in each category. Nine cities that did not have published statistics in all six individual crime categories were not considered in the overall rankings.)"